New 4-H Youth Development coordinator steps in

by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent

JOHN MICHELS is the new 4-H Sheboygan County Youth Development program coordinator for Sheboygan County. — Review photo by Verla Peichl JOHN MICHELS is the new 4-H Sheboygan County Youth Development program coordinator for Sheboygan County. — Review photo by Verla Peichl Sheboygan County recently welcomed John Michels as the new 4-H youth development program coordinator.

He will be working along side Sarah Tarjeson to help the Sheboygan County 4-H program remain strong in the coming years.

The last 10 years have served as good preparation for Michels to fill this position. He didn’t realize it at the time, but his past experiences and teaching positions have groomed him into being the perfect candidate for the job.

“I was in Finland at a university teaching research methods and English,” said Michels. “Then I went to Chicago where I had a job at a two-year college, similar to LTC, where I taught for three years.”

Michels also taught anthropology courses in Ontario, Canada and has gained an abundance of experience from his research project on rural development.

“All of those past positions were a deciding factor that I wanted a position that would combine teaching, youth development and community development,” said Michels, “This position just seems like a good fit.

“I saw this position opening online and I wanted something in Sheboygan, as did my wife, Holly,” said Michels. “We have twin sons and because Sheboygan is where I was born and raised it just seemed like the right place to be. June 17th was my official start date at the extension, so 2013 has been a very busy year for me. I have a new job, baby twins, we have moved and have a new house. It’s all been very exciting.”

Michels is pleased to be a part of a highly regarded 4-H program in Sheboygan County.

“The size of the 4-H program here is impressive,” said Michels. “Sheboygan County is known around the state for being active and strong and there is a strong community support of it.

“The 4-H program is so strong the county fair is so successful in Sheboygan County,” said Michels, “There is also a wide variety of things that the youth can take part in. This is a good fit and I can see all the positives that can happen here while I’m working with the youth. It’s exciting to know that this is my job and I can be of service and watch the program continue to grow.”

Although he has relatively little direct experience with 4-H, but he is excited about getting acquainted with the ins and outs of the program.

“I was never was in 4-H myself,” admitted Michels, “But it’s exciting to learn about the community and all those involved. It’s so big. This will be a massive learning experience.

“I have a lot of different projects, but I would like to make them all grow,” he said. “One specific project is the STEM program, which emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.”

Michels is also looking forward to assisting with the development of several 4-H special events.

“I am interested in the Music and Drama Festival, communications and the arts festival,” said Michels. “For now I’m just busy getting settled in and getting to know everyone. I’ve attended a lot of meetings and I’m familiarizing myself with the camp at Upham Woods and getting to know everyone.

“It feels nice being back in Sheboygan County,” he said. “I grew up in Sheboygan and Holly was born and raised in Manitowoc.”

Looking ahead, Michels said the future of 4-H in Sheboygan County is limitless.

“It’s not only exciting to be a part of this program at the extension. but it’s great to have the U.W. systems to work with,” said Michels. “I can’t tell you how I was really hoping I’d get this position and now I’m really glad I did and anxious to get started.”

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